Friday, October 31, 2008

Finger Lakes News & Notes - Oct.31, 2008

- Dr. Frank Wine Cellars unveils improved Riesling vines

- ABC profiles the Finger Lakes area

- Prejean Riesling wins Gold Medal in Canberra Riesling Challenge

- Finger Lakes wineries enjoying increased visitors this Fall season

- The San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Wines of 2008 will include some Finger Lakes Rieslings

- For everything you ever wanted to know about Riesling, click here. Then click on the book.

- Ithaca Beer Co. wins awards in national beer competition

- New Finger Lakes distillery makes Honey Vodka

- Wine Spectator's James Molesworth has several new blog posts about his recent trip to the Finger Lakes and also some new Finger Lakes Riesling ratings. A subscription is required to view these. Finger Lakes Wine Country has the new ratings here. Shaw Vineyards sent me an excerpt about Shaw's Riesling ratings:
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Magazine
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's a selection of newly released Rieslings from New York's Finger Lakes region, covering the two most recent vintages.The 2006 vintage produced wines in a drier, leaner style, thanks to a typically cool growing season. On the other hand, 2007 was one of the warmer years in recent memory for vintners in upstate New York, and the wines tend to show plumper textures and more tropical fruit notes (though they still retain a cool-climate personality overall). As usual, value abounds in this overlooked region.
SHAW VINEYARD Riesling Finger Lakes 2006 Score: 88 $17
Tangy and fresh, with slate, green apple and fig notes that stay nervy through the nicely concentrated finish. Drink now. 250 cases made. —J.M.
SHAW VINEYARD Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2006 Score: 88 $19
Good focus and drive, with a bracing edge to the lime, watermelon and green apple notes. Nice slatelike tang on the finish. Drink now. 200 cases made. —J.M.

10/31/2008 8:22 AM While Anthony Road might be considered one of the bigger names in the region, Shaw Vineyard is at the other end of the spectrum. Owned and run by Steve Shaw, the facility is also located right on Route 14, on the western Seneca wine trail, but takes on a decidedly low-tech look with its green shack and rustic exposed beam and wooden plank-floored tasting room. Shaw, 51, is a local boy. Born and raised in Hammondsport, he caught the wine bug at an early age, bought a vineyard property on Keuka Lake in 1980 and has been growing grapes ever since, selling his production to Glenora, Hermann J. Wiemer and Dr. Konstantin Frank. In 2002 he began his own eponymous winery with the help of his good friend, Ravines winemaker Morten Hallgren (they share the same facility for their respective wines).Shaw owns 12 acres of vinifera vines and is currently producing just 2,500 cases annually, with a goal to stretch to 5,000 cases. While Riesling dominates the region’s wines qualitatively, Shaw is focusing on reds, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in particular.“It’s more interesting to me to try and break a little new ground with the reds,” he said.Shaw doesn’t crush the berries prior to fermentation, preferring a whole-berry ferment instead for brighter, more forward fruit and a more gentle extraction (see the accompanying video for more). Shaw also prefers to hold his wines back prior to release—his 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is his current offering and it shows gentle tannins and elegant, lingering cherry and tobacco notes, without the crisp, or overtly leafy profile of many of the region’s reds. Shaw’s Keuka Hill Reserve is a non-vintage blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the 2003 vintage along with Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2002 vintage, which also shows a gentle profile, with smoke, spice and cherry notes that mingle nicely.While Shaw prefers to emphasize his red wine production, his whites are hardly an afterthought. The 2005 Dry Riesling (just 0.2 percent residual sugar) is really taut and focused, with almond and slate notes. It’s a tasty drink right now. Both of Shaw’s just-released 2006 Rieslings (a dry and just off-dry bottling) are very good, though production is limited at around 200 cases of each.Small and unassuming, there’s a passion burning at Shaw Vineyard. Don’t let the simple, green roadside shack fool you.

- For a Calendar of all the upcoming Wine Trail and Holiday events in the Finger Lakes, click here.